Unraveling the mystery: Here's why Mawra and Urwa's surname is 'Hocane'

Published: October 19, 2015
Ever wondered how Mawra and Urwa's surname -- Hocane -- is pronounced? Or what it means? PHOTO: MAWRA HOCANE

Ever wondered how Mawra and Urwa's surname -- Hocane -- is pronounced? Or what it means? PHOTO: MAWRA HOCANE

KARACHI: Ever wondered how Mawra and Urwa Hocane’s surname is pronounced? Or what it means? Of course you have! Well, lucky for you, we will unravel this mystery once and for all.

First things first, Hocane isn’t supposed to be pronounced as ‘Hu-Can’. You didn’t know that, did you? Obviously you didn’t. So, if not ‘Hu-Can’, then what?

Brace yourselves.


*Drum rolls*




It’s just a different way to spell… wait for it… Hussain.

Why, you ask?

“I changed the spelling of my surname name when I was in the seventh grade back when I had no idea it would become so famous one day that people would start asking questions about it,” Mawra disclosed to The Express Tribune.

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“I knew my first name was unique because people always asked me what it meant. But in my class, a lot of students had the same surname: Hussain. It’s silly but I was very little then and I wanted my surname to be unique too. So I changed the spelling and started writing is as Hocane,” she added. “I thought people would pronounce the ‘C’ as ‘S’, like in Celina and never thought people would pronounce it ‘Hu-Can’ and not Hussain. But that obviously never happened.”

Cute, isn’t it?

Mawra says at first her parents didn’t mind it because they thought she was just being silly. “My teachers asked me if that was the correct spelling and I said ‘no’. And instead of asking me the right spelling, they removed it. So, all my academic certificates, starting from matriculation to pre-graduation all have only my first name which is very funny. That’s when my parents got a little upset and said ‘yeh kya mazaq hai’.”


The starlet also disclosed that Urwa never used to spell it differently. “My mother chose our names very carefully. My sister’s first name is Urwa Tul Wusqua and my brother’s name is Mohammad Ins e Yazdan. Urwa had to add Hocane in her name because people started to wonder if we were sisters. I didn’t want to change it back to Hussain so I convinced her to spell it Hocane.”

Although Mawra admits she did consider changing the spelling back to Hussain after she became more popular and more and more people started asking about it. “I changed the spelling to Hussain on my Instagram account but that led to even more questions. Fans started asking me if I had gotten married. In three days, I realised it can’t be changed and I should stick to it no matter what anyone says. Also it’s everywhere now; Google, Facebook, Twitter. It would make it difficult for fans to look me up if I change it.”

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However, on her passport and other official documents her surname is still spelled as Hussain. “Changing it officially would be a big hassle. So I think I am going to let it be. What I am more concerned about now is how I want it written in the credits of my film. Earlier, it was always written in Urdu because my TV dramas had credits in Urdu. Let’s see.”


Does she believe spelling her surname differently proved to be lucky for her and could possibly be the reason behind her popularity? “No, not at all. It’s my first name that’s lucky. It means outstanding. I was very good at studies and all my teachers said that was because my name meant outstanding.”

Does she regret this decision she made when she was in the seventh grade? “Not at all! Even my friends sometimes call me ‘Hu-Can’ when they want to treat me like a celebrity. Some fans know that it’s supposed to be pronounced as Hussain, but still choose to pronounce it ‘Hu-can’. It doesn’t bother me at all.”

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In fact, it seems like Mawra has encouraged a lot of people to try out different spellings of their names. “The other day someone tagged me on Twitter directing my attention towards someone who spells her name Phatyma Pharooci. Even a lot of my fans whose surname is Hussain have started spelling it Hocane.”

And she has a special message for her fans. “Next time someone asks me about it, I will send them the link to this article. Thank you for solving the greatest mystery of my life,” she said with a chuckle.


Meanwhile, Mawra is busy shooting for her debut movie — Bollywood film Sanam Teri Kasam — in Mumbai these days. The film will hit theatres on January 8.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Blah
    Oct 19, 2015 - 3:08PM

    Cant believe I read all that!!! what is wrong with me???Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 19, 2015 - 3:09PM

    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet……..Recommend

  • B
    Oct 19, 2015 - 3:11PM

    I pronounce it as “Ho-cane”, similar to Cocaine.Recommend

  • Yaldram
    Oct 19, 2015 - 4:01PM

    More like ho-can?? More like ho-caine.. as if cocaine.Recommend

  • Mudathir Shah
    Oct 19, 2015 - 4:23PM

    It has to be pronounced as Ho CANE just like a reader has mentioned COCAINE. It cannot be pronounced as Hussain. Was she so crazy that she used these spelling. Didnt she realize the aftermath of it, being labelled as ‘Ho can’.Recommend

  • s
    Oct 19, 2015 - 4:38PM

    u remind me of REGINA GEORGES of THE MEAN GIRLS Recommend

  • suliman
    Oct 19, 2015 - 5:07PM

    seriously? i mean that is some news. wowRecommend

  • Ali
    Oct 19, 2015 - 5:34PM

    I figured it out long ago.Recommend

  • Prada
    Oct 19, 2015 - 5:49PM

    Hocane sounds so much cooler ! Stick to it.
    It would have been even better if you two were born in Spokane.Recommend

  • Saddam (Sodumb) Hocane
    Oct 19, 2015 - 5:57PM

    Way to go!Recommend

  • Zubair
    Oct 19, 2015 - 6:11PM

    Burgerism at its peakRecommend

  • Mirza
    Oct 19, 2015 - 6:56PM

    I always thought it was a different way to spell Haqani and that’s how you pronounced it. Recommend

  • Zarqa Arain
    Oct 19, 2015 - 6:57PM

    Now I can die in peace Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Oct 19, 2015 - 6:57PM

    ET ! Please have mercy on this nation you have Mawra Cookain, Zayn Malik etc on your list. Also please inform us what they had for their Meals. Have some heart editor. Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Oct 19, 2015 - 6:59PM

    Also please she is below then average really remove the makeup and watch the magic. Mawra DraculaRecommend

  • Quebecer
    Oct 19, 2015 - 7:07PM

    Hocane is the French way of spelling it. In French the letter C is used where in English we use the letter S. For example the name Hisham in English would be spelled Hicham in French. Another interesting example would be Saeed in English would be Said in French.Recommend

  • zeeshan khan
    Oct 19, 2015 - 7:33PM

    this is called making issue out of no issue.Recommend

  • jax
    Oct 19, 2015 - 9:35PM

    cchunii aankhon wali…Recommend

  • Ajmal Paharhi
    Oct 19, 2015 - 9:40PM

    It’s her name and she can spell it anyway she likes and she’s not the first to spell it ‘differently’; although this is a bit bizarre, like seriously, it could have been spelt as ‘Hussain’, ‘Hussein’, ‘Hossain’, ‘Hosain’ etc. but no, it had to be ‘Hocane’. In any case, there are many similar examples like Indian cricketer Anil Kumble can spell ‘Kumblay’ as ‘Kumble’ (‘kambal’ as in ‘rumble’), actor ‘Irrfan’ Khan with the double ‘r’.Recommend

  • someone
    Oct 19, 2015 - 9:59PM

    So actually she changed her father’s name? WowRecommend

  • skills
    Oct 19, 2015 - 10:28PM

    usain boltRecommend

  • CPA Khan
    Oct 19, 2015 - 11:01PM

    Express Tribune has a hit a new high. An entire article on the genesis of “Hocane”. Recommend

  • GS@Y
    Oct 19, 2015 - 11:47PM

    REALLY? Hocane is Hussain? Are they crazy or just crazily pretentious?Recommend

  • Asok
    Oct 20, 2015 - 2:59AM

    This is what the social media acronym SMH was invented for.

  • Hammad
    Oct 20, 2015 - 4:16AM

    seriously, I also pronounced it the same way… I mean how can a ‘cane’ be pronounced as Can…Recommend

  • Hammad
    Oct 20, 2015 - 4:16AM

    seriously, I also pronounced it the same way… I mean how can a ‘cane’ be pronounced as Can…Recommend

  • SEAsian
    Oct 20, 2015 - 7:39AM

    Clever girl. She will not be stopped at airports.Recommend

  • Burger
    Oct 20, 2015 - 8:51AM

    Find it hard to believe she was good at studies. Urwa comes across as much sharper in comparison. Recommend

  • Hareem
    Oct 20, 2015 - 3:01PM

    Just get out of this name game! Now its totally cleared by Mawra..look its cool..like my name has the same meaning and pronunciation as Hareim!!Recommend

  • Sidra
    Oct 20, 2015 - 6:38PM

    Well thing, celinacelinacan, it’s all gramaticalIf a comes after C, then C is pronounced as K, while if e,I comes after C, it’s pronounced as si. si. Recommend

  • Mrs HighBall
    Oct 21, 2015 - 11:04AM

    To be truly unique, she should also sport a stache like in the opening pix. Looks good !Recommend

  • Unbreakable
    Oct 21, 2015 - 5:30PM

    Wow so many haters. Let it seethe folks, let it simmer.Recommend

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